Circle Tours

St. Patrick’s Cathedral


Peg Breen, Jean Parker Phifer, Jeffrey Murphy and Msgr. Robert Ritchie


Jeffrey Murphy and Msgr. Robert Ritchie


Under the high altar


Jeffrey Murphy AIA, of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects

Professional Circle members were given an exclusive “behind the scenes” tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral led by Jeffrey Murphy AIA, of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, Jean Parker Phifer FAIA, of Thomas Phifer and Partners and Msgr. Robert Ritchie, who is responsible for Cathedral operations.

St. Patrick’s is one of New York’s most iconic landmarks – and one of the City’s most popular destinations with more than five and a half million visitors each year. Known affectionately as “America’s parish church”, for more than 130 years it has graced the City, signaling welcome to all who seek tranquility and renewal.

The Cathedral is currently undergoing a comprehensive five-year $175 million renovation. The plan for its full restoration includes work on the exterior and interior, as well as its stained glass windows, the completion of a new garden and a public greenspace that will serve as a restful place for reflection and meditation. Mr. Murphy provided a broad overview of the restoration project and an opportunity to observe stone cleaning, repair and repointing and various mock-ups.

The tour concluded with a visit to the recently restored rectory. Designed by James Renwick, Jr. as part of the greater St. Patrick’s Cathedral campus, the building was completed in 1880 just after the formal opening and dedication in May of 1879. The Conservancy was pleased to present its highest preservation honor – a Lucy G. Moses Award – to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the renovation of its rectory in 2012.

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Are you interested in joining the Professional Circle?

Throughout the year, Circle tours go behind-the-scenes of some of New York’s most interesting historic properties. Some tours require hard hats to visit projects during restoration, while others showcase completed restorations of commercial buildings, residences, museums, churches, and synagogues. On occasion, conservators, engineers, and craftspeople open their studios to our Circle members.

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For more information, contact Jenna Smith at 212.995.5260 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).